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Thread: Zone heating using wireless radiator controls

  1. #1
    Automated Home Lurker
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    7

    Default Zone heating using wireless radiator controls

    I am thinking of setting up some heating zones in my house in an attempt to save some of the more than 3,000 per year we spend on oil. I think that I want to set these in the three or four rooms that we mainly use, and continue to use the current timer and thermostat mechanism on the remaining rooms.

    I have a new oil-fired condensing boiler (Worcester Bosch) heating central heating and hot water.

    It seems that the options are something like the Danfoss or Honeywell systems that SEEM to control each zone from a central controller (I say SEEM because the documentation is so poor that it is difficult to tell) or the approach that Conrad seems to use that has timers and thermostats based in each room/zone.

    My preference is the latter as I would like to be able to override a zones setting whilst in the zone without having to go to the central controller.

    So, my questions (at this stage) are:

    1. Typically how much should I be able to save if I set the zoning optimally?

    2. Is there anything wrong with my approach and in-zone control preference, and is my understanding of the products correct?

    3. The Conrad products seem to be made in Europe and rebadged Conrad. If looks like I can get identical and unbadged products from other suppliers. I am a bit uncertain about the wisdom of relying on third party suppliers - does anyone have any experience with Conrad and these products?

  2. #2
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    29

    Default

    I've had the conrad system installed for a couple of years. I am very happy with it and coming from what I had (a 25 year old boiler with a timer attached), my system is now infinately better.

    My first experience with this system was from a company called Housetech. It was expensive! I later discovered that Housetech were basically rebadging someone elses' kit and then came across Conrad where it was all so much cheaper. In all, I have unbranded controllers, ELV branded controllers (I think ELV might be the manufacturer) and conrad branded controllers. All are compatible and all communicate with the boiler interlock that I have and the USB receiver connected to my PC. The conrad ones are conrad branded so I suspect the system has been licensed to them - they are not just buying in from a third party.

    I started small by installing a kit similar to one of these: FHT80BTF

    This was just connected to a single radiator and while the programmer was trying to heat the room, it obviously didn't work while the timer was off. Once the timer kicked in, the room warmed up and the programmer quickly shut down the radiator. It worked fine. I then added a couple more rooms and added the boiler interlock (FHT8W), this replaced the timer on my combi boiler and switches off the boiler when no radiators are asking for heat. Conrad UK don't appear to have it on their website, but it is available on Conrad's international site - it might be worth a call to them.

    If you have a system type boiler (one that heats a cylinder full of water) unlike a combi boiler, you will want to keep a timer on the hot water part of the system. Unfortunately the conrad system doesn't support this (I think system boilers might be quite specific to the UK market) so you would either need to get a spark to split the demands in to two and wire the conrad interlock in on the heating side and a second timer in on the Hot Water side or keep the existing timer and only have zone heating when the timer demands it.

    I would hope your boiler will only burn oil when the heating loop is cool enough, but without the interlock, you will probably be running the pump constantly. OK, you won't be burning oil, but you will be using electricity.

    I can't comment on actual savings as there are so many variables - how well is your house insulated, etc. What I can comment on is that the system is so much more flexible than the typical timer and TRV set up. I can have heat only where I want it and when I want it and not have to worry about heating rooms which are not in use.

    HTH
    Chris

    Automating my home in a family friendly way - My blog: http://www.cpmills.com/

  3. #3
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    29

    Default

    John, I've just replied to your comment on my blog. Thanks for leaving it. Re-reading your original post reminded me that you have a system boiler. The FHT8W only has one relay so can only be used to demand heat. You would need to get a heating engineer to split out the heating demand from the water demand. I suspect that would be a simple case of mounting the FHT8W next to your existing timer and running some wires between the two. Not difficult if you know what you are doing. One assumes the boiler will cope if both are on at the same time and decide which to give priority to. With a combi boiler, things are simpler. The heat control is via a demand wire (connected to a timer or thermostat) and water demand is controlled by a valve which detects water being drawn and overrides the heat demand (which effectively means the heating is off when someone is in the shower!)
    Chris

    Automating my home in a family friendly way - My blog: http://www.cpmills.com/

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